Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Real Difference

So, I'm a soccer nut. And last Saturday, I watched a big game in the fierce rivalry between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders. The two have played each other some 75 times, but this is the first time in many years that both have been in the highest league in the U.S. (with Portland just this year being promoted to MLS).

Portlanders and Seattleites have much in common in terms of lifestyle, values, and such, and these two soccer clubs both have rabid fans, who fill their respective stadia, standing, chanting, and singing throughout the game (as is the case in England and elsewhere, but not so much in other U.S. cities). I was intrigued by one fan who, with a simple sign, put his finger on the real difference between Oregonians and Washingtonians. As the television cameras scanned thousands of supporters of the homestanding Seattle team, I caught a single placard that read,
Real Men Pump Their Own Gas

(Though the Timbers had the better play most of the first half, a defensive lapse led to a Seattle goal early in the second. But a goal off of a set piece eventually earned a draw for the team from the state with the strange gas laws. The rivalry will be renewed later in the summer, this time in Portland, where the Timbers have won each of their four games thus far.)

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